Politics

The tick bites the person, sucked deep under the skin.

We often hear this word thrown around a lot, but what does it actually mean? I looked it up the other day and wasn’t satisfied with the standard definition, so I broke the word down, conducted an out-of-the-box word search and learned that the word politics comes from the Greek word Poly, which means many, and tics, which are arachnids that feed of the blood of mammals and other creatures: in other words, many bloodsuckers. Yep, that sounds about right.

Before you start thinking this is going to be a diatribe on any specific person or political party, I’m sorry to disappoint you. You might see something like that as we draw closer to November 2020, but not today. And in the spirit of full disclosure, I am socially liberal but fiscally conservative, which puts me right smack in the middle of the political spectrum, as I presume most people are. I also vote for the candidate, not the party.

Our political system is broken, but judging from what I read about Great Britain and some of the other world news, I suspect we aren’t the only country that can say that. I think term limits are necessary because elections are more like auctions where the nomination goes to the highest bidder in terms of lobbying and endorsement money, and doesn’t come close to separating the wheat from the chaff.

And once a person is elected to office, is their priority to do what is right and best for their constituents?  Hah! No, the number one priority is to get re-elected, and to do that you need cash. Perhaps a candidate begins the process in good faith and with good intentions, but when the rubber hits the road, they become beholden to the special interests that fund their campaigns, got them elected in the first place, and put those needs above the people they are supposed to represent.

Politics, in theory, demands compromise, and putting the common good above everything else. Nobody gets everything they want, but gets what they can live with. Perhaps there was more of that before I came of age, but it certainly isn’t that way now.

Admittedly, the nature of politics is to obtain power to promote your party’s agenda. When political blood is spilled the sharks hone in on their target, particularly around election time hoping to rip them to shreds and kill their re-election chances.

But when did it become such a blood sport, where the only thing that is important is to kill or be killed, to say no to anything to opposition proposes, and not be willing to consider another point of view and to bastardize long-standing protocols and traditions (Mitch McConnell refusing to consider Obama’s Supreme Court nominee in 2016, for instance) in order to promote one’s own political agenda and ideology? When did it get so nasty and demeaning? And when, given some of the nonsense coming out of people like Devin Nunes, did we begin electing sycophants and buffoons?

Have I been asleep at the switch for that long? Sometimes I wonder because I thought Rudy Gulianni was the greatest thing since sliced bread after the nine-eleven attacks. I didn’t know the guy or his history as NYC’s mayor, but he certainly presented well as he galvanized the city and nation with his pluck and attitude in getting his city back on it’s feet. Now I think he’s a whacked-out loose cannon and bat-shit crazy.

What is going on now, and seems to have been escalating ever since Karl Rove was part of Dubya’s inner circle, is discouraging as hell. Nobody accomplishes anything,  gridlock ensues, nobody takes ownership. The other side is blamed, and our national debate devolves into name calling, outright lying, and deflecting attention away from real issues. It’s getting worse instead of better.  Some it of is so blatant that I often wonder if our politicians think the electorate is really that gullible and stupid. It’s insulting to think we are viewed as nothing more than faithful sheep who blindly buy a bill of goods without reservations or questions.

Perhaps it’s because our attention spans have shrunken to that of a gnat. Maybe it’s because in a social media and reality television-driven world, politics is nothing more than a form of entertainment for the masses, replete with heroes and villains, depending on which side of the aisle you reside in. Unfortunately, negativity sells. The issues get buried for the spectacle of the  the show. Maybe it’s because we have morphed into an it’s all about me society, and as long as our 401ks are healthy we don’t give a shit about unimportant things, like climate change.

I’m not bitter, just embarrassed and extremely worried about the sideshow we currently finds ourselves in. The level of hypocrisy is appalling, and so is the apparentl level of apathy in some circles. Or maybe it is a feeling of hopelessness.

I have tried to avoid getting caught up in the circus that is Washington DC by taking the ostrich approach, sticking my head in the sand to drown out the noise until next fall. But the drumbeat of discontent, the closed-mindedness, the unwillingness to consider  different points of view and outright hostility make that difficult.

If nothing else, I expect and truly hope that we have a massive voter turnout in 2020. If that occurs, I believe we can expect fundamental change. One would think that would be the only way the jackals in DC will get the message and (hopefully) act accordingly. But there is no guarantee of that either because when one party gets pimp-slapped the other often doesn’t learn from their misfortune, and resort to payback for all the crap they felt they had to endure under the previous administration and Congressional leadership. All that changes is one end of the political spectrum becomes a lot happier than they are now, and vise versa.

In order for this change to occur, the youth of our country need to vote in much larger numbers, and become more politically engaged. It’s their future after all, and they have a lot more at stake as far as that is concerned compared to someone in their sixties.

It’s going to be an interesting, infuriating, maddening and fascinating eleven months. When it is over, we will remain a fractured country, but hopefully have the infrastructure  in place that can being the long, hard task of healing our divisions rather than making them worse.

Hey, a guy can dream, can’t he?

 

 

 

 

Random Thoughts

THoughts

 

I’ve been staring at a screen that is as blank as my well of inspiration, so I’ve decided to fill this space with some thoughts that have flittered across my mind recently but don’t have enough meat to stand on their own.

If you have MS or another chronic illness, have you ever gotten to the point where you seriously wondered what would happen if you just stopped everything on the procedure and medication front? I have, except for the MMJ. I mean, I’ve been receiving monthly apheresis procedures for almost seven years now, have been getting intravenous meds for about ten, and have taken a host of pills ranging from Ampyra to Low Dose Naltrexone, but the progression continues. The IV meds and other procedures no longer produce a noticeable difference or relief. The costs aren’t insignificant either, so why bother continuing getting poked, prodded and stuck with needles? Because while all this is true, the progression has been slow and confined to one limb, and I’m afraid that if I abandon this course of treatment the progression will accelerate and I will join the ranks of the completely disabled sooner than later. It’s kind of like believing in Santa Claus, so I continue. But I know the day is coming, probably once I don’t need to work full time anymore, where I say fuck it and let the chips fall where they may.

Speaking of MMJ, my preferred method of consumption is vaping because I can control the dosage, and choose the amount of THC. Plus it’s cheaper than many of the other options. What I’m finding however is that with all the concern and, in some cases, hysteria, surrounding vaping and its potential health consequences, the vaping options have become very limited. I use to be able to literally choose from two to three dozen options. The last time I looked, it was down to three, and I am not talking dozens. It’s quite annoying!

And speaking of THC, one of the things I have noticed is that when I am under the influence, my thought process is very different. All of the emotion that is often in play when pondering the decisions we make is stripped away, and I view the pros and cons of each choice in a very detached and black and white manner, which is usually good because it brings clarity. Of course, if you have a particularly dicey situation, such as the fact that our house hasn’t sold and I could be starting down the barrel of a winter of financial discontent, it isn’t so good because there is no bullshitting or silver lining to rationalize over and soothe one’s sole, which makes the situation feel a lot worse than it is. Or does it?

If what has gone down in the White House is not impeachable, then nothing is. It’s becoming obvious that in order to impeach anyone, let alone remove any President from office, the key is not what they did, but whether one party controls both the House and Senate. After all, how do you explain the difference between Clinton getting impeached for lying about a blow job and our current resident’s transgressions.

All of which proves that we need term limits for our Senators and House members. If they don’t have to worry about getting reelected, perhaps they’d have the courage to stand up for their convictions.

I have no doubt that if the votes in the Senate on the impeachment issue were anonymous, the outcome would be very different than what we are going to get.

My favorite thing about winter is that I can swing into hibernation mode without any guilt. Since it gets dark so early, I have no reservations about calling it a night, getting into my sweats and hunkering down for the evening by seven.

Does anyone watch the news, network cable or otherwise anymore, or do most of us get our information off the web? It’s the latter for me, but it is getting harder to get news that isn’t biased one way or the other.

Am I in the minority thinking that the world is going to hell? I swear that I’ve read about shootings somewhere in the world every single day for a week, and that a week doesn’t go by without news of someone killing a handful or a mass of people somewhere. Is it anger, hate, isolation, desperation, fame seeking, or a combination of them all? Whatever the reason, it’s scary as hell.

I’ve been telling myself lately that as bad as things seem, it still hasn’t reached the level of discord that this country saw in 1968. I was only a kid back then and didn’t have a clue about what was really happening, but having seen some documentaries on what went down that year, I probably would have been more fearful of what was happening to this country had I been an adult than I am now, which is saying a lot. Still, can we survive another four years of the current regime?

Be that as it may, it feels like I am experiencing 1984, not 1968. George Orwell’s 1984, that is.

Professional hockey players are the toughest, best conditioned athletes in the world. After all, they are in a flat out sprint most of the time they are on the ice, travelling at top speeds of 30 MPH, surrounded by and crashing into opponents who are just as big and fast as they are. If I’m not mistaken, there are more concussions suffered in hockey than football. Plus, these guys are wielding sticks that have a habit tearing flesh, smashing teeth and breaking bones. They also willingly drop to the ice to prevent a screaming puck of hard rubber from reaching the goalie. They simply get stitched up, or visit the dentist office that is in most NHL clubhouses, and get back on the ice. I admire their skill and tenacity, but often think they are a bit insane.

Only ten weeks before pitchers and catchers report for spring training. Can’t wait.

If you had a chance to look into the future and see what was in store for you and your loved ones ten years from now, would you do it? Not me. Sometimes ignorance is bliss.